Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—February 27 2017

A Quarter Of Holiday Email Revenue Derived From Smartphones
A quarter of email-driven revenue was derived from smartphones in the last quarter of 2016, according to new report. Thirty-seven percent of all email-driven orders and 26% of all email-driven revenue were derived from smartphones in the fourth quarter, per Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s analysis of almost 8 billion emails sent in fourth-quarter 2016 via its Yesmail360 platform. The report suggests that email remains the major revenue driver, but shifts in consumer mobile behavior have impacted email engagement and conversion rates. Email-driven orders placed on mobile devices have almost tripled over the past three years, according to the marketing technology company, while email-driven revenue orders on smartphones have increased 250% over the same time period. More than half of all email clicks came from mobile devices—an 8.5 percent increase year-over-year and a 31.5 percent increase over the past two years. Story by Jess Nelson for MediaPost.

Philly Courts Bar Cellphones, Hoping to Curb Witness Intimidation
Philadelphia’s courtrooms are taking a cue from Dave Chappelle, Guns n’ Roses, and Childish Gambino by implementing new forms of technology to restrict an ubiquitous one. The goal: reducing witness tampering by restricting the use of cellphones in court. Starting April 3, many visitors to the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice on Filbert Street will be required to turn off their cellphones and place them in a portable “pouch” that will remain locked until they leave the building.  The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, in a news release Thursday, said the new rule aims “to deter, if not eliminate, intimidation of witnesses and courtroom disruptions.” The pouch, created by the San Francisco-based Yondr, has mostly been used by musicians and comedians. When visitors are ready to leave, the pouch will be unlocked by a magnetic disk. The distribution and collection of the pouches will be handled by the Sheriff’s Office. Story by Jason Nark for Philly.com.

ISIS Seeking to Destroy Televisions, Cell Phones to Control ‘Access to Information’
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria said he’s seeing signs that ISIS fighters in Raqqah, Syria – the capital of their self-declared caliphate – “are beginning to feel the pressure.” They’ve increased population control measures in Raqqah by seeking to remove or destroy televisions,  searching houses for mobile phones and satellite dishes in order to maintain control of news and access to information about their losses. Story by Susan Jones for CNS News.

Researchers: Long-Term Cell Phone Use May Increase Your Risk for a Brain Tumor
New research suggests long-term use of cell phones is linked to a significantly higher risk of developing a brain tumor. The study, published by researchers from India, shows a 33% increased risk for brain tumors for mobile phone use of 10 years or longer (or 1,640 or more hours in lifetime). The researchers examined a dozen case-control studies conducted between 1966 and 2016, and they published their findings this month in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Neurological Sciences. Scientists and physicians say you can reduce your exposure by using the speaker phone function on your cell phone or by using a headset—instead of holding the phone right up to your ear. They advise texting instead of talking (when possible) and keeping your cell phone conversations as short as possible. Story by Bob Segall for WTHR.

Huawei Announces a 360-Degree VR Camera for Smartphones
Huawei is joining the 360-degree camera war. The Chinese electronics company has revealed that it created a 360-degree clip-on for smartphones called Honor VR Camera in collaboration with Insta 360 at an event in Beijing. Huawei is keeping its pricing and release date a secret, but it’s obviously part of the company’s online-focused line. The phonemaker also said the device is capable of 3K photography and seamless livestreaming. Plus, you can capture and share photos and videos as well as do livestreams through its companion app. Story by Mariella Moon for Engadget.

Pope Francis Considers Use of Mobile Phones at the Dinner Table as ‘The Start of War’
Families should put down their mobile phones at the dinner table and engage in conversation, Pope Francis said on Friday, warning that a lack of dialogue between people and nations can lead to “war”. “When there’s no dialogue at home, when we’re at the table and instead of talking everyone is on their phone . it’s the start of war, because there is no dialogue,” the pontiff told students during a speech at a university in Rome. He made the remarks during a 45-minute address in which he chastised politicians for failing to listen to each other, saying a lack of dialogue could lead to misunderstandings and the outbreak of conflict. Story by Nick Squires for The Telegraph.

Here’s How India Is Becoming A Hub For Smartphone Manufacturing In South Asia
According to a recently released Government of India report, the mobile industry’s contribution to the country’s GDP currently stands at 6.5% ($140 billion) and is likely to become 8.2% by 2020. Mobile manufacturing units generated 38,300 new jobs in last two years with Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn being the top employer with a workforce of 8,000. As India becomes the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, the Indian handset industry is poised to overtake America as the second largest market in next few years. This growth potential of the mobile sector has resulted in the government taking a slew of measures to ensure manufacturing under its “Make in India” initiative is centered on this lucrative sector. Story by Karan Kashyap  for Forbes.

Smartphones Are Really Stressing Out Americans
It’s easier than ever to stay in touch on multiple platforms throughout the day, but that 24/7 availability is stressing Americans out. Four out of five adults say they constantly check their email, texts and social media. People who are always looking at their digital devices, called “constant checkers,” reported higher levels of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets. The amount of time people spend on social media also appears to be stressing people out. 42% of constant checkers report that social media conversations about politics and culture cause them stress, compared to 33% of people who check less often. Constant checkers also worry about how social media is affecting their wellbeing; 42% say they worry about how social media can impact their mental and physical health, yet only 27% of people who check less often say the same. This digital obsession also appears to take a toll on families. Almost half of parents say they feel less connected to their family when technology is present, even when they are spending time together. Close to 60% say they worry about the impact of social media on their children’s mental and physical health. Story by Alexandra Sifferlin for Time.

Founder of India’s $4 Smartphone Firm Arrested on Allegations of Fraud
The founder of an Indian tech firm that shot to prominence by offering a $4 smartphone has been arrested on allegations of fraud, after a handset dealer accused the company of not refunding him for an unfulfilled order, the police said. Mohit Goel, the founder of Ringing Bells, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Uttar Pradesh and will be produced in court later on Friday. Goel and his company made headlines last year with the “Freedom” smartphone, which was priced at 251 rupees ($3.77), attracting strong demand but also widespread skepticism and scrutiny from regulators even in price-conscious India, where cheap smartphones are big sellers. The founder was arrested after a dealer said he had paid 3 million Indian rupees for an order of handsets but had received only a fraction of the order. He further said some of the phones received were defective, according to the police. Story by Sankalp Phartiyal for Reuters.

Boredom Hits All Time Low in UK as Rise of Smartphones and TV Help Brits Combat Restlessness
A survey of 2,000 Brits over 35 found that eight in 10 are rarely or never bored, because with their phone nearby there’s always something to do. Twenty per cent of Brits say they are “never” without their phones, and three quarters reckon their lives are better because of it. In fact, 63 per cent of respondents said that they’re less bored today than they were 20 years ago, and attribute that directly to having a smartphone. And just six per cent think they’re bored more often today than they were in decades past. On average, people unlock their phones, stare at the screen and then put them away again without accomplishing anything more than 10 times a day. Story in The Sun.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.